Wine Access Top 100 Restaurants
I alluded to this in an earlier post and not certain if anyone else has seen it. I just received Wine Access magazine's restaurant issue (to which Lesley Chesterman contributed). Of the top 100 in Canada the following Montreal restaurants were listed:
Au Pied de Cochon
Le Club Chasse et Peche
Primo et Secundo
La Montee de Lait
All in all a fair list although I would not have included Moishes or Primo et Secundo. I note that Splendido in Toronto gets named tops in the country and that Toronto has more top 100 restaurants than Montreal.
Perhaps more interesting is the list of best comfort foods in Montreal:
Best Burger - Meatmarket
Best Frites - Lemeac
Best Dim Sum - Kam Fung
Best Pizza - Bottega
Best Bacn & Eggs - Cafe Melies
Best Fish & Chips - Brasserie Holder
Best Spaghetti & Meatballs - Da Emma
I have the issue, it seems to me this list of Montreal restaurants was compiled solely by Lesley Chesterman(Ontario compiled solely by Margaret Swaine & so on). She always been a fan of Moishes. Her favourite casual restaurant is Meatmarket, besides Au Pied de Cochon. In Wine Access 100 point scale, only one restaurant gets 95+ points(Splendido in Toronto), while between 90-94 points 4 Montreal restaurants appear(La Chronique, Laloux, Le Club Chasse et Peche & Toque!).
It's nice to see some "Top 100" list recommendations that I can agree on! I hate the surveys newspapers usualy do where places like l'eggspectations and donini come out on top of their respective categories. I love Bottega, and Meatmarket's always a decent spot to hit, as is Holder.
I totally agree with the questionable inclusion of Primo et Secundo. As I am loathe to comment on a restaurant after only one visit (it really is possible to fall on a bad night - they happen to everyone), I have given them 2 more chances and was disappointed all three times. The food just does not cut it for me. THe most disappointing of all was the bollito misto, which was a plate of boiled meats. You know, like your mom made you when you were a kid and you were sick. Boiled meat. That's it.
I would be very interested to hear from someone who has dined at both Toque! and Splendido. I was not thrilled with the rating process, with diverse critics choosing the best in the city, then attributing scores. Had I given Toque! 98, it would have beaten out Splendido, but I didn't want to be excessive with the scores. I think, to do this properly, one critic should had written the whole story, but of course, that's impossible. I hate lists like this, even if I contribute to them, because how can anyone really say one restaurant is two points better than the other. But editors love lists...
As for P & S, I had a wonderful meal there last year when I reviewed it. Great, in fact.
I am guessing you didn't have the boiled meat bowl, or not get the wine you ordered- despite the fact that it was a recommendation from the waiter... You'd think he'd know what they have and don't have. I just found each experience marred with some kind of inadequacy. There was a semi-famous Montrealite there one of the times we dined and he and his wife did not seem happy at all with their meals.
So maybe it's a hit an miss thing - which in my mind a good restaurant it does not make.
Some of the dishes I had at P&S were very good (the molten chocolate dessert was incredible) but I would not say the food was generally any better than Il Mulino.
The first time I went I tried to order the lamb chop and the waiter steered me towards a steak, which was the special and according to him the last of the steaks (a once in a lifetime opportunity!). It tasted like the last of the steaks. Not completely rotten but with that bitter, funky taste of too much dry aging. I think if you're a waiter and you recommend a dish it better be good. And my sense was that they saw a young guy in jeans and a t-shirt and figured, what the hey, he won't know any better, give him the last of the steaks we're trying to push before we have to write them off.
I went back a couple weeks later for lunch with a couple friends (jeans and t-shirts again) and the waiter brings the wrong dish to one of us. When informed of the error he shrugs and says he can replace it, but points at our plates as if to indicate that we would be done eating by the time it was done. So, my friend ate what was proferred. In a situation like that, I think a good restaurant comps the dish (or at least dessert). But nothing was offered and the general vibe was that we should have been happy to get what we got.
Yes, some of the food is great but I think the service varies greatly depending on who they think they`re dealing with. I suspect Lesley Chesterman may be getting the Ruch Reichl treatment from them, because my experiences have been very different than hers.
Amen. I could have written your post. And for me, it's not only about the food. The service (slow, unhelpful, snooty whatever) can ruin a great tasting meal. And I'm sorry, but an incredible molten choc. dessert is not all that hard to come by. I will not be going back there.